If you’re looking for something fun to do on a winter day (or any time of year, if you have an indoor rink nearby), you can’t go wrong with ice skating. Unfortunately, ice skating can also be dangerous when skaters and rink managers don’t take precautions.
There’s no denying that when people go ice skating, whether they’re beginners or seasoned skaters, accidents leading to serious injuries can occur. If you’re wondering whether an ice skating rink can be held liable for a guest’s injury, this blog has the answer.
Ice Skating Rinks Must Keep Guests Safe
In Oklahoma, as in many states, premises liability laws apply to businesses, including ice skating rinks. These laws dictate that property owners have a responsibility to maintain safe premises for visitors and guests. This responsibility includes regular maintenance, necessary repairs, and adequate warnings about potential hazards.
When businesses, including ice skating rinks, fail to maintain a safe premises and people get hurt, they can be held liable for their injuries.
How Ice Skating Rinks Can Be Held Liable
To hold an ice skating rink liable for injuries, several factors need consideration:
- Negligence: If the rink staff or management acted negligently—for instance, by failing to maintain the ice properly or not addressing known hazards (such as broken steps leading onto the ice or hazards skaters could trip over)—it could constitute grounds for liability.
- Assumption of Risk: Ice skating inherently carries a certain level of risk. Visitors to the rink are expected to recognize and accept this risk. However, this doesn’t absolve the rink from responsibility if the injury was due to negligence rather than inherent risks associated with skating.
- Safety Measures: Whether the rink had adequate safety measures in place, such as barriers, warnings, or trained staff supervising the skaters, can also determine liability.
Proving an Ice Skating Rink’s Liability after an Injury
To establish liability, it’s crucial to gather evidence that demonstrates negligence. This can include eyewitness accounts, maintenance logs, records of previous incidents, and any communications indicating the rink owner or manager’s awareness of hazardous conditions.
What Are Common Injuries Associated with Falls on Ice?
When people slip and fall while ice skating, various injuries can occur due to the impact of hitting the ice or due to the body’s awkward positioning during the fall. Some common injuries include:
- Sprains and Strains: Twisting while falling can lead to sprained wrists, ankles, or knees. Ligaments and muscles can be stretched or torn in the process.
- Fractures: The impact of a fall on hard ice can result in fractures, most commonly in the wrists, arms, elbows, or hips.
- Head Injuries: Falls can lead to head trauma, ranging from minor concussions to more severe injuries like skull fractures or brain contusions, especially if the individual is not wearing a helmet.
- Back and Spinal Injuries: Awkward falls can result in back injuries, such as herniated discs or spinal fractures, particularly if the person lands on their back.
- Dislocations: Falls can sometimes cause joints to come out of their normal positions, leading to dislocations, such as in the shoulders or elbows.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: In addition to sprains and strains, falling on ice can cause damage to soft tissues like tendons and ligaments, leading to pain and restricted movement.
What Are the Complications of Injuries Suffered on Ice?
Injuries sustained from falls while ice skating can lead to various complications, depending on the severity and type of injury. Some potential complications include:
- Chronic Pain: Injuries like fractures, sprains, or strains can lead to long-term or chronic pain, affecting mobility and daily activities.
- Limited Mobility: Severe injuries, particularly fractures or joint injuries, can result in limited mobility and decreased range of motion, affecting one’s ability to perform daily tasks and work-related tasks.
- Joint Stiffness: Injuries involving joints may cause stiffness, reducing flexibility and causing discomfort during movement.
- Nerve Damage: Severe falls can result in nerve damage, leading to numbness, tingling sensations, or loss of sensation in affected areas.
- Head Injury Complications: Head injuries, including concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries, can lead to complications such as cognitive difficulties, memory issues, mood changes, and in severe cases, permanent neurological damage.
All of these complications can make it difficult or impossible for some ice skating rink injury victims to return to work soon after their injuries. In some cases, victims are even out of work for months or years. That means no paychecks all while their medical bills for treatments keep piling up.
Our Oklahoma Slip and Fall Lawyers Can Help After an Ice Skating Injury
While it’s true that ice skating can be an inherently dangerous activity, the people and companies that own and operate ice skating rinks are supposed to do everything in their power to keep guests as safe as possible. That includes immediately addressing, repairing, or removing all potential hazards and obstacles that can make people fall while entering, exiting, or using the ice.
If you or someone you love was injured at an ice skating rink, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Oklahoma slip and fall injury attorneys can investigate what happened and help you get the money you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free case review.